Waste and Desire
Since 2012, I have followed everyday technologies from their display as brand-new objects of desire in shiny shopping malls, to their discarded remains on dumps and recycling sites in Europe, North-America, Asia, and Africa. The works that make up Waste and Desire were made in response to visits to electronics recycling sites in Nigeria, a hi-tech e-waste processing factory in the UK, and an encounter with traditional metal workers in Egypt.
'Back to Sender'
video; electronic waste from Europe, collected in Lagos, Nigeria
collaboration with Jelili Atiku
In December 2013, I spent a week in Lagos, Nigeria, together with Nigerian artist Jelili Atiku. We collected electronic waste originating from Europe on markets and dumps around the city. The material was subsequently sent back to Europe. Back to Sender prayers are a controversial practice among Christians in Nigeria, which is rooted in traditional Yoruba religion and medicine. The prayers are used to return evil to those who sent it to you.
iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3 wrapped in plate steel; chargers
An Apple iPad mini and a Samsung Tab 3 tablet computer were wrapped in steel by traditional metal workers in the old city of Cairo. Only the charging sockets of the devices remain accessible. They will be charging for a long time.
Thus, the devices are detached from their usual promise of connectivity, immateriality, and progress: Their functionality is reduced to its bare minimum – charging – whilst the smoothness and perfection of their mass manufactured surface is replaced by the irregularity of the manually constructed steel enclosures.
'VIRT1210 (iPad mini)'
electronic waste; retail blister packaging for iPad mini accessories
E-waste residue collected at SWEEEP Kuusakoski e-waste recycling factory in the UK is contained in standardized retail blister packaging (model VIRT1210) for iPad mini accessories. E-waste residue is the material that remains after all recyclable resources have been extracted from a discarded electronic device.
After participating in e-waste recycling labor at Alaba Market in Lagos for three days, a sore patch occurred on my arm. It got infected.